Sunday, January 6, 2013
This Book Will Change Your Life - The Infects by Sean Beaudoin.
We well understand that zombies are this year's black. Vampires. Or whatever. And we dig it. We also understand that monsters in general, and maybe even zombies in particular, come to represent the socio-political issues of the day. That even in a society where violent crime is on a downswing, we live in a twenty-four hour, seven days a week, media world fraught with war, violent uprisings, and yes, school massacres, that we just cannot make sense of, much less escape, the need to fight a living dead that emerges from mysterious, possibly even nefarious circumstances, just makes sense in terms of popular entertainment and escapism. Which brings us to The Infects by Sean Beaudoin, which is yes, about zombies, zombies, who are at least partially, maybe wholly, a result of corporate malfeasance, a topic as current as any. But deconstructing zombies is not the same as talking about one's reaction to a book, even when said book does such a nice job of both hewing to the understood parameters of zombie culture and mocking them. So, what we will say is this, what is most entertaining about the wildly entertaining Infects is just how much fun it is. The Infects is full of humor, snappy dialogue, and knowing pop culture riffs, and while reminding us of what Patrick Wensink did best with Broken Piano for President and its takedown of corporate culture and its hold on the country, what it truly reminds us of is Lynda Barry's Cruddy, possibly the most fun we've recently had reading a book of any kind. This kind of fun is a gift, and writing it requires craft, and reading The Infects we were reminded that not only do we need to read more books like this, the culture needs more books like this, now especially, but at any time. They not only allow us escape, they just might change our lives as well. If only for a moment at that.